IMPROVING THE FLEXIBILITY AND THERMAL PROTECTION OF A DIVING WETSUIT

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Authors
Waldron, Andrew T.
Subjects
diving
thermal protection
manufacturing methods
microspheres
composite
silicone
casting
3D printing
Advisors
Luhrs, Claudia C.
Kartalov, Emil P.
Date of Issue
2022-06
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This research improves the thermal protection and mobility of divers by incorporating a silicone glass microsphere composite, cast in geometries that adapt to various body curvatures, into a conventional neoprene wetsuit. These geometries are designed such that an array of trapezoidal teeth—on a thin base of the same material—converge together to approximate curved body shapes. Previous composite wetsuit designs, including a similar glass microsphere composite, derive each composite piece from 3D body scans. This design generalizes one geometry to apply to a range of body curves. This method reduces variance in mold designs, reduces mold sizes, and reduces cost and maintenance for composite wetsuit molds. With this approach, composite wetsuit materials can be more rapidly prototyped and eventually incorporated into wetsuits that protect professional Navy divers. The thermal protection of this material was validated experimentally at set curvatures in varying pressure environments. Additionally, the material was added to a 3-millimeter wetsuit and tested in a real salt-water environment. The composite's porosity was reduced and compared using optical microscopy. Thermal metrics from experimental and diving results were compared to previous prototypes.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
Organization
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
Sponsors
Office of Naval Research
Funder
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Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. Distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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